Oko Buckle is the Vice President and General Manager of Burns & McDonnell in Atlanta. He leads more than 250 professionals, offering a full range of engineering, construction, design-build, program management, consulting, environmental studies and permitting services covering multiple AEC industries.
In 2006, Oko joined Burns & McDonnell as a senior electrical engineer. Later, he became the regional manager for the firm’s Transmission & Distribution Group in Atlanta. In 2015, Oko led the opening of the Orlando, Florida, office before being promoted to general manager of the firm’s Southeast Region. In 2018, he became the vice president and general manager of the Atlanta office.
How did you first learn about the United Way of Greater Atlanta?
I grew up in Ghana, Africa, and I am one of 12 children. My twin and I are the youngest of a large Catholic family. In 1983, a terrible famine swept over Ghana. Catholic Relief Services stepped in to ensure children and families in the area had food and support during this challenging time. Additionally, when I was 17, my family lost our father, and again Catholic Relief Services was there with the resources to help us survive and thrive. The support from this organization changed my life.
I first began contributing to United Way when I joined Burns & McDonnell in 2006 and experienced the benefits of the organization through our annual workplace giving campaign. During my first giving campaign, I learned United Way partnered with Catholic Relief Services. After learning this, I was even more inspired to give and grow my partnership with United Way because it supported an organization that I am extremely passionate about. Now, through United Way, myself, my team in Atlanta and the rest of our organization make significant contributions to help change the communities we live and work in through our annual workplace giving campaign.
In 2021, the Burns & McDonnell Atlanta team raised more than $78,000 for United Way. Nationwide employee-owners from Burns & McDonnell raised more than $4 million for United Way in 2021. Additionally, I am a United Way Tocqueville member and serve on the DeKalb Advisory Board.
What is your favorite part of giving?
Growing up in Ghana, my family home was always open to anyone who needed food to eat or a place to sleep. There wasn’t a time I can remember where strangers weren’t sleeping on the couch in our living room or joining us for dinner. Now, I do my best to pay that forward here in the U.S. My home is always open, and I have a strong desire to help others.
I have and will continue to sponsor and mentor students from Ghana to help them consider coming to the U.S. to pursue higher education at graduate schools such as North Carolina A&T and Georgia State University. In addition to these efforts, I enjoy donating to United Way and believe “through giving to United Way of Greater Atlanta, you are creating citizens that will be the engine to help others.”
Share something, we might not know about you.
I played the trumpet in high school and later discovered the alto saxophone, which I still love to play. I enjoy music, especially jazz, reggae and classical. My passion for music inspired me to work (at no cost) as a DJ in college at the local radio station.
I like to bring out the best in people. Coaching and teaching are very important activities to me—both in my personal and professional life.
Thank you, Oko, for being a Tocqueville Society member!
To get more involved with the Tocqueville Society, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.